Owners desire growth and prosperity for their business – it’s part of the reason they put in the hard yards and take the risks that they do. However, files of insolvency firms all over the country are littered with stories of successful companies that went to the wall, with many of their owners still scratching their heads wondering how it happened since they were selling so well.
Selling well is only one piece of the puzzle. For continued success, all the other pieces of the puzzle need to be in place as well.
Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, said: “Firms need to ensure that their ability to provide effective customer service keeps pace with their growth. If you're marketing your firm to new customers, you better be able to provide them service when they do business with you.”
Get your business growth-ready
Levitt talks about the need to ensure you can provide effective customer service to new customers, but also enforces that you must remember your existing customers. We have all heard how much more expensive it is to acquire a new customer than keeping an existing one, and while it can be tempting to go for growth and find lots of new customers, it is equally if not more important to make sure you look after your long-term customers.
Another important aspect of being growth-ready is working through the impact it will have on your cash flow. Many businesses have to buy their stock or pay their people well before it is sold. The more you intend to sell, the more you have to buy – and that can have a significant impact on your cash flow.
Ensuring your employees are along for the journey is also a key aspect of successful growth. As your business grows, you and your customers will expect more from your staff. This can be an exciting and rewarding experience for them, but can also lead to increased stress and anxiety and push people out of their comfort zones.
Spending time with your employees, working through what is expected of them and explaining how you will support them as things change are all important facets of ensuring they share your goals.
Get yourself growth-ready
The taste of success often leaves business owners wanting more. It feels great to be able to outperform the competition and even better to outperform your previous results by improving each month. But the one thing you can’t outperform is yourself image. The mind has an interesting way of keeping us in check. The way you see yourself and picture your success determines the results you get.
Before you embark on business growth, mentally prepare yourself. Picture yourself and your business the way you desire it to be. Most importantly, be sure that you believe you can do it.
Once you head down the growth track, you start setting expectations in the minds of your customers and staff. You also start committing to additional costs that are not always easy to unwind.
A focus on how growth can be achieved, and what you need to do to make it happen, is as important as having all the organisational pieces of the puzzle in place. Prepare for growth and watch your business flourish.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Hans Wrang is a coach, consultant, presenter and author at The Positive Lane. He has more than 15 years experience in performance coaching, the last five of which have been teaching people how to improve their results and experience of life by applying the principles of Positive Psychology. Hans runs regular seminars and workshops, contributes to blogs and other publications and appears regularly on TV and radio programs in Australia and overseas.